For Drought Resistant Grass, the Winter Mowing Hiatus Reforms Bad Habits

Hank Kerfoot - Thursday, October 27, 2011

While there are varieties of relatively drought resistant grass available, every summer brings challenges to your dreams of a lush, green carpet of grass. Many of these challenges are self-inflicted by homeowners with serious misunderstandings about what is best (and worst) for their grass.

Now that the mowers are safely nestled in their garage cocoons for a few months, it’s time for a little rehab, a little reforming of bad lawn care habits. There’s not a lot you can do when a June drought hits and water restrictions make the front-page of the newspaper. However, by understanding the nature of grass, you can do a lot to avoid making the situation worse.

Drought resistant grass begins at the beginning.
Depending on your region, there are grasses that are likely to do well, and grasses that don’t have a fighting chance of survival. Choose the right kind, and your grass will use water efficiently. Choose the wrong kind, and your grass will slurp up every drop and beg for more.  If you are not sure as to the best variety for your particular situation consult a sales professional at

Timing is important, too.
When you water your lawn is at least as important as how often you water it. The advice to water early in the day is not just a practical joke perpetrated by coffee companies hoping to increase sales among sleepy waterers. One reason an early morning drink does wonders for your grass is that there’s generally less wind to interfere with absorption. Also, even in the hottest climates, the early morning hours are the coolest part of the day. This means less of the water you intend for your grass will evaporate before it soaks into the ground.

Watering in the middle of the night is not recommended either, due to the increased risk of promoting diseases.  When water sits and doesn’t dry off the surface it creates a breeding ground for many common turf diseases. In an early morning irrigation cycle the surface begins the drying process as the sun comes up and air movement starts to increase.

Frequency is another issue.
A good long soak now and then beats a quick splash on the run every day. The reason is that roots grow deeper when they can linger over a nice long drink of water. Deep roots mean drought resistant grass
Take it easy on the mower.
Like a 10-year old boy with a crew cut, it’s tempting to scalp your yard down to the peach fuzz state, thinking you’ll buy yourself an extra Saturday with no mowing on your to do list. But it doesn’t work that way. Cutting your grass too short is a sure way to end up with shallow roots, too. While setting your mower to leave your lawn a healthy link means you’ll need to mow more often to keep it looking manicured, at least you won’t be mowing dead, brown, scorched grass.  Keep in mind that long shoots (leaf blades) = long roots.  While in the midst of a drought, resist mowing at all or at least reduce your frequency and raise the height for a healthier and better looking stand of grass.

Bag the bag.
Your lawn will thrive on the nitrogen it can draw from grass clippings. While every lawn needs to be fed, that doesn’t always mean you need to feed it commercial fertilizer. By leaving your mulched clippings on the ground, you can cut your fertilizer use by about a third. Decomposing clippings left by a mulching mower can help save and retain some moisture as well.  Use common sense if the lawn is extra long it is not advisable to leave clumps of clippings. You should never fertilize your yard during a drought, anyway. It’ll only stimulate growth that can’t be sustained because of the drought.

Follow these tips for cultivating drought resistant grass, and by the time it’s time for watermelon and lemonade, you’ll be able to enjoy it while sitting on your lovely green lawn.  Keep in mind that these are generalizations and can vary due to individual growing conditions, slopes and soil types.  

To learn more about the high quality sod grass that Modern Turf grows in South Carolina visit their website at Schedule a consultation today to end your search for the perfect high-quality sod- the most durable grass you have ever worked with, guaranteed.